September 1, 2023

NYC transit system still widely inaccessible despite recent improvements

While the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has picked up the pace of making New York City's public transit system more accessible, the agency still has a long way to go before it can be totally accessible. Gov. Kathy Hochul and the MTA on Thursday announced the completion of the project making Grand Street L subway station fully accessible, marking the fourth station across the five boroughs that have been made fully accessible this year. Despite the agency's recent efforts, the city's transit system is still incredibly difficult for riders with disabilities to navigate because a majority of stations lack elevators, ramps, and other accessible features.
May 19, 2023

NYC sues architecture firm behind new Long Island City library over accessibility issues

New York City has filed a lawsuit against the architects behind the inaccessible Hunters Point Library in Long Island City, as first reported by Crain's New York. Filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court on Wednesday, the lawsuit claims Steven Holl Architects violated its contract with the city by designing an inaccessible building. The suit says that the architecture firm should be forced to pay $10 million to cover the renovations needed to make the building accessible for people with disabilities.
See more here
February 14, 2023

Renovated pedestrian and bike path opens on north side of George Washington Bridge

The pedestrian and bike path on the north side of the George Washington Bridge opened on Tuesday following a renovation and accessibility upgrades. The project, led by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, included widening approach paths, bigger entry plazas, and removing stairs that prevented access to cyclists and users with mobility challenges. The upgraded north walk also features two new viewing platforms, one on the New York side and one on the New Jersey side.
Get the details
January 27, 2023

New 34th Street station entrance features mosaic depicting clock from old Penn Station

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday unveiled new accessibility improvements at Penn Station. In addition to four newly modernized elevators, the new, fully accessible entrance at 7th Avenue and 33rd Street features artwork by Diana Al-Hadid. Measuring nearly 15 feet tall, the glass mosaic, called The Time Telling, was inspired by a photograph of the clock that hung at the entrance of the old Penn Station.
Learn more here
January 4, 2023

7 train will not run between Queens and Manhattan for six weekends

The 7 train will not run between Queens and Manhattan on six weekends starting next month as work begins to make Queensboro Plaza station fully accessible, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Tuesday. The $74 million project includes the addition of two elevators, an expanded mezzanine, new lighting and boarding areas, and upgrades to the existing street and station stairs to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. To carry out these upgrades, the MTA will be suspending 7-line service between 34th Street-Hudson Yards and Queensboro Plaza on certain weekends in February through April, and suspending the N line in May.
Details here
June 23, 2022

MTA pledges to make 95 percent of subway stations accessible by 2055

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority reached a class action settlement agreement to make 95 percent of currently inaccessible subway stations accessible to those with disabilities over the next three decades, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday. Currently, just 27 percent of the New York City subway system, including Staten Island Railway stations, are fully accessible to riders with disabilities. Under the agreement, which still requires court approval, the MTA will make accessible 81 stations by 2025, another 85 stations by 2035, another 90 stations by 2045, and the last 90 stations by 2055.
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December 20, 2019

These are the 68 subway stations the MTA will make fully accessible

Less than 25 percent of the NYC subway's 472 stations are accessible, but the MTA has pledged to increase that percentage to roughly 40 under it's proposed $51.5 billion 2020-2024 Capital Plan. Back in September, the agency revealed the first 48 stations it would make fully ADA accessible, and now they have announced 20 more (the final two will be announced at a later date), all of which will receive a $5.2 billion investment. Through the upgrades, the MTA's goal is to ensure that no rider is more than two stops from an accessible station.
See the full list of stations
October 7, 2019

Hunters Point Library will move fiction shelves in response to accessibility criticism

Steven Holl's Hunters Point Library has garnered glowing architectural reviews since it's opening last month, but visitors quickly pointed out a critical issue with accessibility in the $41 million building. Although the library has an elevator, it doesn't stop at the fiction section which is tiered on three levels above the lobby and accessible only via stairs. In light of the criticism, a Queens Public Library official has announced that books in that section will be relocated to an accessible area of the library, as Gothamist reported.
More details
September 30, 2019

Report suggests looking to zoning to speed up subway accessibility; map shows which lines lag

Despite recent progress–and a federal lawsuit–only 23 percent of New York City's 493 subway and Staten Island Railway (SIR) stations are fully ADA-accessible, a statistic which puts the city dead last among the country’s 10 largest metro systems for accessibility of its transit stations. The MTA has made a commitment to funding accessibility in its much-discussed Capital Plan, but hundreds of stations are still without without plans for ADA access. On Friday Speaker Corey Johnson and the City Council released a report showing that the use of zoning tools to incentivize or require private development projects to address subway station access could speed up progress toward the goal of system-wide ADA access–and simultaneously cut public expense. The report, and an interactive map, show the current system, future plans and what the use of zoning tools could accomplish.
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August 1, 2019

MTA plans more elevators for 14th Street subway complex, making it fully accessible

After committing to install four elevators at the 14th Street and Sixth Avenue F, M, and L stop as part of a lawsuit settlement, the MTA has now announced it will also be adding elevators to access the 1, 2, and 3 platforms at Seventh Avenue. As The City reported, the 14th Street subway complex between Sixth and Seventh Avenues is one of the busiest stops in the city, servicing more than 48,000 riders a day. The expanded project will make the entire complex fully accessible, though it won't happen overnight.
More details
July 24, 2019

Settlement promises curb cuts will be installed or upgraded at every corner in NYC

A settlement in Manhattan Federal Court yesterday has established a plan to improve sidewalk accessibility throughout New York by making all 162,000 street corners in the city fully accessible within 15 years. Judge George B. Daniels mandated a comprehensive citywide survey to identify which corners need curb cuts installed or upgraded, which must be completed by October. This marks an important step toward making the city's streets easier to access and safer for the disabled community—and all New Yorkers.
More info
June 6, 2019

Judge rules accessibility lawsuit against the MTA can move forward

A state Supreme Court judge has denied the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s request to dismiss a lawsuit over inaccessible subway stations, amNY reported Wednesday. A coalition of accessibility advocacy groups, including the Center for Independence of the Disabled and Disability Rights Activists, filed the suit. They argued that the MTA is in violation of the city's Human Rights Law because only 24 percent of the subway system’s 472 stations include elevator access.
March 14, 2019

Greenpoint Avenue G station will get three elevators and full ADA-compliant features

The MTA is moving into the next phase of construction on the elevator installation project at the Greenpoint Avenue G station, but there’s good news for roughly 9,400 regular weekday customers: the MTA is expecting “significantly reduced impact” to service. Work will also focus on updating station infrastructure including stairs, handrails, turnstiles, powered gates, and braille signage—bringing the station to full ADA compliance.
More details
March 13, 2019

Astoria Boulevard N, W station to close for nine months for elevator and mezzanine repairs

The Astoria Blvd N and W station in Queens will close at 10 p.m. on Sunday, March 17 and remain shuttered for nine months as New York City Transit works on a multi-phase repair project. The elevated station will get four new elevators and other accessibility features. In order to construct the street elevators, the mezzanine level will be demolished and rebuilt with more vertical clearance to prevent strikes by trucks and other over-height vehicles on the road below.
More info
March 8, 2019

Judge rules MTA must provide elevators in all stations it renovates

On Wednesday U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that the MTA was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to install elevators when it renovated a Bronx subway station. The ruling is the result of a 2016 lawsuit initiated by Bronx Independent Living Services after the MTA refused to make a the Middletown Road elevated subway station in the Bronx wheelchair accessible, though the $27 million renovation included new floors, walls, ceilings and stairs to the street and the train platform, Gothamist reports. Ramos' ruling stated that the MTA is obligated to install an elevator, regardless of cost, unless it is technically infeasible.
Really, MTA?
February 6, 2019

NYC has fewer accessible subway stations than MTA claims, report says

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority currently claims that 114 of its 427 stations—or 24 percent—are accessible. But a new study led by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office shows otherwise. A team of staffers surveyed 42 of the stations that the MTA deems accessible, visiting each station on four separate days at different times of the day. Based on complaints and conversations with advocates, they assessed elevator accessibility, station signage, and features for vision-impaired riders. As Curbed first reported, their findings show that an already sub-par statistic is actually inflated.
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January 31, 2019

TransitCenter maps out the next 50 subway stations that should be made accessible in NYC

Photo via Flickr cc Roughly 75 percent of New York City's 472 subway stations are not accessible--a fact that has long plagued disability advocates but has now taken on a more pressing call to action after 22-year-old Malaysia Goodson died after falling down the stairs carrying her baby in a stroller at one of these stations. To visualize this dire need, TransitCenter has put together a map that proposes the next 50 subway stations that should be made accessible under the MTA’s Fast Forward plan. If implemented, their plan would "more than triple the potential station-to-station trips riders who rely on elevators can make using accessible stations."
How did they choose these 50 stations?
December 6, 2018

Central Park releases access map for people with limited mobility

A new map from the Central Park Conservancy includes lots of new information about the park's playgrounds, trails, restrooms, entertainment areas and other spaces that decodes the park for people with disabilities and/or limited mobility. Helpful information includes information on park terrain, letting visitors know how steep various trails are, and where there are stairs or other potential obstacles.
Full map, this way
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July 18, 2018

62 New York City neighborhoods lack an accessible subway station

More than half of the 122 neighborhoods served by New York City's subway system do not have a single accessible station, a new report by City Comptroller Scott Stringer found. And out of the 62 neighborhoods dubbed "ADA transit deserts," 55 are in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. In his report, "Service Denied," Stringer details the gaps in accessibility for seniors and mobility-impaired New Yorkers and calls on the state legislature to create a new funding source dedicated to upgrades compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.
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March 14, 2018

MTA hit with federal lawsuit over lack of wheelchair accessibility

The MTA has found itself on the wrong end of a lawsuit by the feds for failing to make its subway stations wheelchair-accessible. On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney  Geoffrey Berman joined a lawsuit accusing the agency of not adding assistance for disabled riders when renovating stations, the New York Post reports. The suit began in 2016 when a civic agency in the Bronx accused the MTA of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not creating wheelchair access at the Middletown Road station. The suit should come as no surprise; as 6sqft previously reported, fewer than 1/4 of New York City's subway stations are fully wheelchair-accessible–only 117 out of 472. In fact, NYC ranks the least accessible out of the country’s ten largest metro systems–all of LA’s 93 stations and DC’s 91, for example, are fully accessible.
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September 26, 2017

Map shows less than 1/4 of NYC subway stations are accessible

Out of NYC's 472 subway stations, only 117 are fully accessible, a major problem considering more than 800,000 or one-in-ten New Yorkers have a physical disability (and this doesn't take into account those who get injured or are with a stroller). The reason for this is that our subway system was built starting in 1904, long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. To highlight the issue, the Guardian put together these startling maps that show worldwide metro systems in their entirety as compared to versions that only include fully accessible stations.
Get all the facts
February 10, 2015

New York’s Airports Come In Last for Mass-Transit Accessibility

If you've ever endured the long ride to any of the area's airports, all the while lugging your suitcase and anxiously wondering if you'd miss your flight, then this statistic probably comes as no surprise. According to a study by the Global Gateway Alliance, "John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports rank last and third-to-last, respectively, in mass-transit accessibility compared with 30 of the world's busiest airports," reports Crain's. The analysis looked at total travel time for public transit users, mode of transportation and number of transfers and cost, scoring them from 0 to 100. And if Anthony Weiner is correct, the new LaGuardia AirTrain will only increase travel times–not good news those for us who prefer not to sit in insane taxi traffic or fork over $99 for a private helicopter ride.
More on the study here

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